The Cress Company

by Mhairi MacLeod 5. November 2013 02:04

The Cress Company are based just down the road from ourselves in Dunfermline and from there they distribute high quality food products around the whole of Scotland and the North of England.

They have been expanding their gluten free range recently and now provide us with Mrs Crimbles gluten free cheese crackers for our gluten free hampers.

Joanne at The Cress Company is excited about their gluten free suppliers:

“Gluten free is a quickly growing market and we receive requests for GF produce far more now than we did even three years ago.

“We started stocking gluten free produce first to meet demand but it’s become obvious recently that there are so many great product ranges with great producers developing them that it’s important to supply their stock.”

Mrs Crimbles was founded over 30 years ago and became one of the first products to feature on the “free from” shelves at your local supermarket.

Before gluten free became as well known as it is now the company’s products were only found in health stores and farm shops; this shows just how far the industry has come in recent years.


Lucy from Mrs Crimbles spoke to us about the emergence of gluten free requirements over the past few years as well as the ethos of the company:

“Mrs Crimble’s were one of the first brands to be stocked on the Free From fixtures in the UK supermarkets and our focus is on creating the best tasting treats which just happen to be gluten free and do not compromise on taste or quality.

“The number of consumers diagnosed with intolerances has grown remarkably and increasing numbers of people are turning to a gluten free diet as part of a healthier lifestyle.”

We certainly agree that these cheese crackers are a luxury treat whether you are gluten free or not.

The excellent thing about these products is that they allow people to feel included in the dining experience and we hope our new gluten free hampers will do just that.

Pop over to our speciality diet hampers page to take a look.

Highland Fayre Reach the Finals of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards

by Stewart 1. November 2013 14:54

Last week Highland Fayre received some fantastic news that we had been selected as a finalist, in the Export Entrepreneur of the Year category, at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards. It was a proud day in the office to be recognised for the hard work we have been doing to expand our hampers into international markets. 

(Highland Fayre were announced as finalists in the Export Entrepreneur of the Year Category, at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards)

The Great British Entrepreneur Awards celebrate the contribution entrepreneurs have had on the UK economy, as well as their extraordinary achievements. Simon Burton, founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards said: 

“Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the economy. They question the received wisdom, drive change and create opportunities,

"Entrepreneurs rescue failing industries and invent entirely new ones. They create jobs and solve problems. Entrepreneurs make something of nothing.” 

(David with some of the finalists at the Shortlist Announcement event on 22nd October 2013. Pictured left to right: Piers Mummery, BrightMove Media, Sam Middleton, The Chapar, David England, Highland Fayre)

Ecstatic about the news, our Managing Director David England had this to say:

“It is an absolute honour to reach the finals of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards. Expanding the Highland Fayre brand overseas is something we have been working very hard on, and it is great to see the staff and the company receiving the recognition they deserve. It is a new area of business for us which we intend to expand upon in the coming years.”

(David enjoying the festivities of the GBEA Shortlist Announcement event)

Those shortlisted for an award were revealed on Tuesday 22nd October, during the Shortlist Announcement Event, at the RBS Headquarters in London. A great night was had by all, as some of the best business minds in the country came together to network with fellow finalists and speak about their own companies.

(Stage set for the Shortlist Announcement Event)

Like the other finalists, we are all waiting in anticipation for The Great British Entrepreneur Awards on Tuesday 19th November, at the Grand Connaught Rooms in Central London, where the winners for each category will be announced.

Congratulations to all those shortlisted for an award and we can’t wait to meet you all at the ceremony night next month.

 

Birthday presents under £30

by Mhairi MacLeod 31. October 2013 18:41

With so many birthdays in the year, forward planning is essential and at Highland Fayre we have them sorted for every budget!

If £30 is your maximum spend then luxury is still well within budget.

Here are our 5 best birthday gifts for under £30:

1. For summer birthdays

The Taste of Summer Hamper is an excellent gift for anyone born in the warm months and includes Stag Bakeries Toffee & Banana Cake, Forest Feast Handmade Belgian Milk Chocolate Mango and the brightly coloured Ovidio Italian sugar almonds alongside many more summery treats.

2. For dad

If you can afford an extra 19 pence then our Gift for Dad hamper is a great present for his birthday.

Including Werther's Original Traditional Chewy Toffees and Epicure Venison Pâté with Red Wine amongst other manly treats this hamper is sure to please any dad without breaking the bank. He's worth it!

3. For a real celebration

If the birthday boy or girl loves luxury then the Sparkling Celebration Gift is perfect for them.

A bottle of fantastic Bortolomiol Valdobbiadene Prosecco, Hamlet Luxury Belgian Chocolate Assortment and Dean's of Huntly Apple Crumble Shortbread Rounds go together to make the perfect gift.

4. For a wine and cheese lover

A Torreon de Parades Merlot, a sumptuous Isle of Arran Cheese Scottish Cheddar and great Perthshire Cracked Black Pepper Oatcakes in our Merlot & Cheese Hamper go together as an ideal birthday gift the cheese and wine fans.

5. For the sweet tooth

If all this birthday girl or boy wants is a sugary treat then the Sugary Secrets Hamper is for them.

Gorgeous Bolero Cocoa Wafer Sticks, Monty Bojangles French Cocoa Dusted Truffles and Chocca Mocca 100% Real Belgian Dark Chocolate Drinking Chocolate are just sweet enough to keep even the biggest chocaholic happy for weeks.

For more birthday gifts under £30 visit the Hampers by price section of our home page.

 

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Thank you gifts for men

by Mhairi MacLeod 25. October 2013 01:45

If the man in your life deserves thanks for his hard work then a gift is an excellent way to express this.
 
Men may be notoriously hard to buy for but we’ve come up with five great gifts to say thanks.
 
1. Something practical

Photo Credit: Rick


Hip flasks have become more and more popular over the last few years and any man will be happy to add this great accessory to his collection.

There are many to choose from but a timeless silver hip flask will give him years of enjoyment.
 
2. Something drinkable
Looking for something to fill his hip flask?

 

A personalised bottle of whisky is a thoughtful idea and you can even have your thank you message written on the label. 
 
And once he’s finished drinking he can keep the bottle as a memento.
 
3. Something sweet

Photo Credit: Innaudi


Fill a gift bag with nostalgic treats as a sweet way to say thank you for a favour.

Sweets from his younger years like Dip Dabs and Sherbet Fountains will provide him with a walk down memory lane.

Make sure the presentation of the gift is perfect in order to make an impact.

4. Something snazzy

Photo Credit: Tophee


A big favour deserves a big thank you so if your man has gone the extra mile then surprise him with a fabulous new watch or a set of cufflinks.

You could even have the back of the watch engraved with a special message to let him know just how thankful you are.
 
5. Something shareable
A hamper filled with wine, cheese and other goodies is a delicious thank you gift that he might even agree to share with you!

Choose a selection of his favourite treats and wrap them nicely before presenting your finished hamper to him.
 
For more inspiration visit our Thank You Hampers page.

Personalised Birthday Presents

by Mhairi MacLeod 17. October 2013 12:40

Birthday presents are great fun to buy and even more fun to receive. 

With personalised presents becoming ever more popular there are lots of options to choose from. 

We’ve chosen our five favourites:

1. For the gardening enthusiast

Photo Credit: Suzette


A personalised herb box is a lovely gift for anyone keen on gardening and it’s so compact that it will fit into even the smallest garden.

Plant the box up with lots of seasonal herbs before wrapping it in a bow and gifting it to the gardener in your life for a present that will be remembered for a long “thyme”.

2. For the music fan

Photo Credit: Max Geiger


There's a wealth of great music gifts online but our favourite has to be the personalised plectrum; with plenty of options to choose from you can have anything from plastic to solid silver with the recipients name engraved.

3. For the pet lover

Photo Credit: Jay


The pet tag has long been personalised but now the personalised pets scene is taking off!

Personalised pet bowls and mats are a thoughtful gift for a pet lover and they will probably appreciate a gift for their moggy or doggy far more than a gift for themselves.

4. For a couple

Buying separate presents for couples isn’t necessarily the way forward. 

A personalised poster with their names and hobbies printed is a great idea and one that is sure to please both halves of the whole.

So whether they like fish and chips or holidays to Troon you can give them a truly personal gift.

5. For the acquaintance

If you want to buy them a gift that feels personal then a bottle of wine with their name printed on the label is a great idea.

You can give a gift that they are sure to like while also showing that you have made a real effort.

For more ideas on personalised gifts visit our Personalised Gifts page.


 

Is Wine Gluten Free? Forth Wines Reveals All

by Stewart 16. October 2013 11:55

Despite being inherently free of wheat, barley and rye, many wine producers and wholesalers don’t actively promote the gluten free qualities of their products.

In an interview with Forth Wines  (the second of our gluten free suppliers) they stated that despite more and more requests for gluten free wine, the wine trade don’t display anything on labels that state, for instance, a bottle of Chardonnay or a Cabernet Sauvignon is in fact suitable for Coeliac’s.

According to Forth Wines, despite it being gluten free, wine could come into contact with gluten at two stages of the winemaking process:

1. Wine Fining 

When the wine is fined (the removal of larger, suspended particles from the wine to clarify the juice before bottling) gluten could be used in the process. However, even if a gluten-based substance is used, the whole point of fining is to clarify the wine. Therefore, the substance will drift through the wine, collect any unwanted particles and fall into the bottom of the tank where it is left behind.

2. Storage of Wine

Photo Credit: Sanjay

Barrels used for storing wine can be covered in a flour-based paste to smooth the joints on the barrel heads. What Forth Wines suggest is that if a Coeliac is any doubt then they should select a wine that has spent no or as little time in a small, oak barrel. 

By definition, gluten free products do in fact contain traces of gluten. The US Food and Drug Administration published back in August a new regulation defining gluten free for food labelling. In their definition they state that food products with less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten, can be classed as gluten free. 

While labelling laws are a lot more stringent with food, the current laws do not mandate that wine, that comes into contact with gluten, be labelled as such. This may have something to do with current research showing wine that has come in contact with gluten only contains 10ppm (an amount likely to only affect those Coeliac’s that have an extreme intolerance to gluten).

Check out our Gluten Free Hampers to see the lovely bottles of red and white we have selected from Forth Wines.

 

5 things to look out for when choosing the perfect corporate gift supplier

by Stewart 7. October 2013 20:11

While it’s important to allocate time sourcing the perfect corporate gift, it is just as important to research the best supplier to meet your gift giving needs.

There is nothing more frustrating seeing the ideal present and later finding out that the supplier cannot cater for your requirements.

From our experience as a corporate gift supplier, here is a tried and tested checklist of things to look out for when selecting the best company for the job.

1. Variety

It is very rarely that our clients – especially when sourcing corporate Christmas gifts – want a “one price fits all” solution.

Having multiple levels of staff and management to buy for (not to mention varying budget constraints) our clients look for a range of hampers at various prices levels.  

Keep an eye out for those suppliers that offer gifts ranging from £10 to £5000, as these will be the ones that offer more flexibility when it comes to meeting your financial needs.

2. Keep it fresh

Can the supplier easily update its product offering to meet changes in taste, or do they sell the same products year round?

While some of our clients like to stick with the same corporate hampers over and over again, we have clients that like to keep things fresh every year. 

To cater for these various needs, one year we may create a bespoke alcohol hamper, the next a mixture of savoury and sweet treats. In other cases we have even gone outside our product offering and sourced new ideas to meet our client’s requirements.

3. Branding

As we mentioned in our Personalised Corporate Gifts blog there is a lot of value to be gained from branding your corporate gifts.

If you want your gifts to stand out and have your personal touch then be vigilant of those suppliers that are able to brand products with your logo and company livery.

4. Reliability 

Photo Credit: Tuger

A gift is well received, only if it is received on time!

Have peace of mind that your business gifts will be delivered to the right location, at the right time by sourcing suppliers who are experienced when it comes to logistics. 

A good gift supplier needs to have intuition when it comes to thinking of logistic solutions that you may not have thought about. 

5. Customer service

Photo credit: Bloomsbury's

Finally, customer service boils down to the supplier’s attention to detail when managing your account.

Things to watch out for are:

- Is there an immediate connection? Do you feel that a strong business relationship could be built with this supplier in the future?

- Do they go above and beyond to provide you with the best service imaginable?

- Are they flexible in their gift solutions? Do they go out with the norm to accommodate your needs, no matter what the situation?

If they are all these things then you are definitely onto a winner. 

For more information on how Highland Fayre can supply your Corporate Gifts this Christmas then visit our Corporate Hampers Guide.

 

 

Dos and Don'ts for Staff Headshots

by Stewart 1. October 2013 01:44

Jenna Goudreau from Forbes magazine states “people assess your competence and trustworthiness in a quarter of a second (250 milliseconds) based solely on how you look”. This means that your staff headshot is one of the most important photos you’ll ever pose for.

Here are our do’s and don’ts to help you make the most of your moment in front of the camera:

1. Don’t revamp your look

You need to look good for your staff headshot but don’t get a new hairstyle the day before. A green fringe may not look as great as you’d first imagined.

2. Do wear something that stands out… but don’t go over the top

Standing out from the crowd is one thing, looking like you’ve stepped out of your fancy dress box is something else entirely. Solid colours are good for a headshot while busy patterns can detract from your face.

3. Do practice your pose

Your headshot is the first impression for clients and an insincere expression won’t win you any customers. Entrepreneur.com emphasises the importance of personal appearance in business saying that “the best face to put on your business is your own.”

4. Do remember that facial hair dates quickly

The Nineties goatee may have been bang on trend when this photo was taken but a few years later it was out of date. Go for a classic look in your headshot and it won’t date quickly!

5. Don’t bring a pet… unless you’re a vet

It doesn’t matter if your cat is your best friend or your dog has put on his spinning bow tie especially for today; if you are striving for a professional look then don’t clutter your photo.

You can find more advice for the workplace by continuing to read our Highland Fayre Hamper blogs.

How to retain clients

by Mhairi MacLeod 25. September 2013 18:23

Customer retention – also referred to as customer loyalty – is one of the pillars of any successful business.

What’s more, customer retention drives three of the most important ‘Rs’ in business:

- Recommendations
- Revenue
- Really happy bosses!

So, with industry experts – such as CRM Magazine – suggesting that an increase of just 2% in customer retention has the same effect on profit as 10% cost cutting, it really is worth honing your skills in the art of customer loyalty.

Here’s how:

· Treat your customer as a person

It may sound obvious but customers like to be treated as individuals, not numbers. Speaking to Entrepreneur.com, social media guru Lewis Howes shared his number one tip for improving customer loyalty as “Go above and beyond doing whatever it takes to show customers how much you love them. Care about each person as a human, not a number.”

Going the extra mile transforms your customer’s experience from average to incredible; the sort of service they’ll tell their friends and family about which - in turn - catapults them from being one happy customer, to one happy customer who drives lots of referral


· Acknowledge your mistakes

According to research and advisory experts Gartner, 80% of your company’s future revenue comes from 20% of your existing customers.

Therefore it pays to be smart and honest, particularly if you’ve made a mistake.

Customers appreciate that nobody’s perfect; just make sure you hit the ball out of the park on your second attempt if you accidentally dropped it on your first.


· Be a mind reader

In a recent article in Forbes Magazine, business expert Micah Solomon explained that one of the most important elements any company should work on fulfilling is “even the unexpressed wishes” of the customer.

By spending time working out what your customers want, but aren’t necessarily asking for, you can create understanding, trust and a unique synergy that ultimately builds powerful brand ambassadors.


· And remember to say thank you

Above all it’s important to say thanks!

A study by Customer Thermometer found that 68% of customers will move on because they perceive the business serving them to be indifferent to their custom.

There are lots of ways to say thank you – a hand written note, a gift or simply an invite to lunch.


Looking to reward customer loyalty with a gift? Visit our corporate hamper guide now.

Staff Motivation – ways to inspire your employees

by Stewart 24. September 2013 02:01

70% of staff feel “unappreciated” at work.

17% highlighted that long service milestones were not celebrated

7/10 feel undervalued in their current role and a further 6/10 are actively looking for a new job.

 

These are just some statistics from a survey conducted by The Voucher Shop on staff motivation within the NHS.

Staff motivation should always be at the forefront of a manager’s mind because if the workforce is demotivated then a company will never reach its full potential.

If high staff turnover and low work performance sounds all too familiar, here are our tips for inspiring employees:

 

1. Financial incentives

Most of us would agree that money is a highly motivating factor.

Financial incentives definitely work well within the sales, manufacturing and engineering industries as staff are paid extra when they exceed their quotas.

 

2. Non-financial incentives

Photo Credit: 401(K)


For many companies, financial incentives are not viable due to budgetary restrictions.

Martin Cooper, Head of Sales at Love2reward, says:

“If staff receive something tangible, the glory is reflected on the company that gave it to them; they will think positively about it for a long time as they admire the item they purchased with the gift card/voucher etc. Give someone cash and six months down the line they will struggle to remember what they used it for, more often than not it is used to pay a utility bill or credit card.”

“Non-cash rewards such as gifts or vouchers can result in 25 percent higher work performance than cash incentives. Even simple gestures such as a thank you, can increase a person’s willingness to help again by 100 percent.”- Kuijit Kaur, Head of Business Development, The Voucher Shop

Whether you motivate your staff through a small gift or praise them for their hard work, nonfinancial incentives could really benefit your organisation.

 

3. Job enlargement, Job enrichment, Empowerment

Photo Credit: Impact Hub


If employees are not motivated in their roles, then no amount of money or gifts will inspire them to work harder.

Frederick Herzberg (famous for his ‘hygiene’ and motivational factors theory) believed that employees are motivated when they have greater levels of responsibility.

Job enlargement – Where possible, give staff a greater variety of tasks. There is nothing more demotivating than doing the same thing day in, day out. Variety makes the job more interesting and rewarding.

Job enrichment – Give staff complex tasks to complete and employees will feel a greater sense of achievement.

Empowerment –Allow employees to take responsibility for their own working life.

 

For ideas on staff gifts that will motivate your workforce visit our staff rewards and incentives page on our website.